Android 12 leak just revealed lots of new features — what you need to know

The latest version ofoffers some cool new ways to interact with Google Assistant, widgets, and even the home screen.

Found in an unreleased build by, given to it by an anonymous source, this version is newer than the current public build, and therefore contains some new toys to try out. Some of these are only surface-level interesting, such as new emojis or a different volume slider design, but many offer enhancements that will please Android power users.

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Android 12: New way to get Google Assistant

One feature that looks borrowed from Apple is the new option to activate Google Assistant by holding the power button. It’s similar to how you summon Siri on recent iPhones, and seems like a big improvement to the fiddly gesture you currently have to use while avoiding having the phone constantly listening for the ‘OK Google’ wake word.

Android 12 widget picker

If you’re a fan of widgets, you’ll love the new widget picker. This gives you fold-out menus for each app and a search bar at the top, making it easier to find and check out the widgets you’re interested in. This one also resembles an Apple feature, namely its own widget picker in.

Android 12 converstation widgets

On the topic of widgets, the Conversations widget and associated selection menu has been updated visually from the Developer Preview 2 version. This new feature lets you pick a contact or group from a messaging service to add to your home screen, making it easier to reply to them or to see if you’ve missed a call.

Android 12 dual-pane homescreen for tablets

If you own an, then Android 12 contains a couple of treats for you. The current DP2 build offers a persistent taskbar at the bottom of the display, while XDA’s new build also offers a dual-pane home screen, showing two sets of apps and widgets side-by-side to make the most of the larger display.

Android 12: Easier access to cards and passes

Inside the notifications shade, there are new quick setting tiles for accessing device controls or your cards and passes menu. XDA Developers suggests that these features, usually found by holding the power button, may have been added in case you decide to use the new Google Assistant summoning option instead. Either way, it’s good to have another speedy way to get a hold of your tickets and loyalty cards or the switches for your smart home gear.

Android 12 Extra Dim Mode

Google is continuing to tinker with an ‘extra dim mode’ in Android 12, the latest name for the feature previously named ‘Reduce brightness’ and ‘reduce bright colors’. Its effect adds a dark filter to the display, making it look, as the name implies, extra dim. It sounds like something you may want to turn on if you’re using your phone in a low-light area, or if you’re trying to avoid blinding yourself when turning it on at night.

on May 18.

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